It’s been almost a year since I woke up with what I’ve decided to call ‘egonesia’ – or – amnesia of the ego. It was a devastating experience as it was happening. One day I simply had no meaning in my life. I don’t mean I was dissatisfied with my life and came to the realization I needed to make certain changes. It was more like the parts of my brain and personality that construct logical, ordered, purpose-based, task-oriented, ‘this is who I am and what I do as a person’ were no longer accessible. They’d disappeared and I had no idea how to get them back.
I remember standing in my bedroom, starting at the floor, and not being able to make any sense out of anything. It was as if my brain was in a void. Time froze and so did my body. I couldn’t form a complete sentence or a construct a coherent thought.
I somehow new I was in crisis. A primitive part of my soul understood something had been disconnected. It was as if I was an old computer with a new hard drive. All the outside parts of my life were intact and recognizable, but the intrinsic memory of who I knew myself to be had crashed and the new hard drive hadn’t been programmed yet.
I began to feel a deep yearning in my soul. A craving for something I couldn’t name.
Before that moment, I’d always had a strong sense of myself. I know who I was, what I valued, and what I believed in. I grew up Catholic and later became a Druid and a Shaman. I had a complex and eclectic view of myself as a spiritual being, a teacher, a healer, a wife and a mother. I had always been able to place myself within the context of my life in what I’d considered to be rich, meaningful, beautiful ways.
Not that day. That day none of it made any sense anymore.
There was no explanation. My condition wasn’t preceded by any traumatic incident or head injury, I had no major health issues or undiagnosed illnesses, and my family life was stable. Yet, I was completely stripped of the parts of my ego that defined my beliefs and why I’d created my life around them. I felt as though my Soul had been cracked open and the entire essence of my being was pouring out beyond my control.
My ego was gone, and with it, my judgements, my convictions, my discernment, and my ability to understand myself as a woman or a spiritual being. It was as if the Universe had suddenly decided I needed to start over with everything.
Oh so you’re Catholic – what does that mean?
Or maybe you’re a Druid – what does that mean?
You’re a teacher – tell me about that.
You’re a healer – how does that work?
If you can’t define yourself as ‘mother’ or ‘wife’ or ‘shaman’ – how, then, will you know yourself?
And so it began – my reconstruction.
What do you do when everything you think you know and understand about who you are as a person is suddenly stripped out of you from your core?
For me, the only thing that came to mind in the moment was to pray the Rosary.
So I did. Every day. For a month.
This created a wide rage of reactions in my life from fear to eye rolling to jubilation.
My Christian friends cheered at what they hoped was my return to the Church.
My atheist friends rolled their eyes.
My Pagan friends feared I’d accidentally drunk the Kool Aid.
Everyone who was close to me understood I was in crisis but no one knew how to help me. I wasn’t behaving in any of my ‘normal’ ways. I wasn’t the same person they’d come to know and no matter how much they wanted me to ‘get back to my old self’, I couldn’t. It’s not that I didn’t want to – I did. In fact, I was trying as hard as my friends and family were to figure out how to get back to being the old me again.
My old self knew knew how to be me. It was comfortable being me. It liked my friends and my family. It made me who I was on purpose. My old self and my old ego embodied all the things it thought made me interesting and cool. It knew how to be normal in social situations. It knew what to say and how to say it. It didn’t freak out the people I loved and cared about. My old self was confident and witty, and clever. This new self knew none of that. This new self was fragile, extremely sensitive, and only wanted to talk to God.
She didn’t want to talk to the Christian God, or the Pagan God, or the Divine Feminine Goddess God. She didn’t want to talk to the nothingness of the Atheist God. She wanted to talk to the real God. The one creating the yearning in her Soul. She wanted to talk to the God that stripped her of her former self. The one that made her vulnerable. She wanted to talk to the God that had opened her up – forcing her to walk bare souled through her life with no mask and no refuge. She wanted to talk to the God that turned her life upside down and made everyone around her question her sanity.
A few weeks later, I found myself alone, locked in a church, clutching a jar of holy water…
This is the beginning of the healing journey my life has taken since the day I felt my Soul was cracked open. I have no other way to explain it except that one day I woke up and my ego was gone. It was terrifying at first, but ever since, life has become progressively more entertaining, meaningful, love-filled and poignant. May you find your own ways to heal within the context of my stories. Enjoy.